Castles & Crusades Castle Keepers Guide


SKU: TLG 80154


The Castle Keepers Guide includes a host of new material for the role playing enthusiast; from world creation, to dungeon designs, managing non-player characters, character attributes at high levels, spell use and cost, equipment its use and wastage, the tumult of storms, from warfare to combat, monsters, treasure, death and more. The Castle Keepers Guide provides the CK and the Player with a host of new tools for their use; tools designed to enhance play, not hinder it; designed to be malleable from gaming table to gaming table.

Table of Contents

  1. Expanding the Character: In this chapter, we explore new attribute modifiers, god like attributes, beauty as an attribute, creating new races and role playing examples.
  2. Magic: Digging into the magic using classes with spellbooks, starting spells, components, pricing magical components, playing without components, wands and holy symbols, illusion magic as healing, buying, selling and trading spells, scroll use, non caster scroll use and so much more.
  3. Expanding Equipment: A fresh look at equipment includes types of carrying items, stabling, costs of lodging and meals, a complete illustrated study of wagons with costs, speed and cargo, a similar treatment of boats and ships, general equipment and a new look at backpacks (abbreviated from the Adventurers Backpack).
  4. NPCs: A complete breakdown and explanation of the three types of NPCs (Adherents, Hirelings and Henchmen), how to use them, what their skills are, tracking loyalty, hiring them permanent or part time and developing their personalities.
  5. World Building: A guide on building your own world, beginning with planetary design and exploring everything from plate tectonics to weathering. Ten different types of climates are discussed and a host of biomes. Terrain, weather, movement charts and historical ages are all covered in this chapter. A complete how to will get you started on your world building journey.
  6. The City: In creating urban environments we explore populations, governments, culture, economic systems, economic systems, cost of goods and bartering, social stratification, types of religions and how to integrate them. Also it explores the types of settlements from the single dwelling to the metropolis, fully illustrated. Occupations, construction and criminal codes round out the chapter.
  7. Dungeons: Beginning with a study of light, temperature, humidity and movement underground it expands in to caves and types of caves (erosional, solution caves, coastal and so on), to terminology of both caves and underground structures: dungeons. A look at ecosystems, building dungeons, tunnels, gases and traps rounds the chapter out. Everything you need to know to build a complete dungeon.
  8. Air and Water Adventures: Chapter 8 allows you to expand you adventure into heights its never been. Movement in the air and under water as well as combat, combat maneuvers, spells, magic underwater and monsters with aerial combat ratings.
  9. Equipment Wastage: Role playing equipment is a wonderful tool that every CK should learn to do. From equipment wear and tear to destruction in combat, from both mundane, magical and monstrous means (what does dragon fire do to +1 armor?). This section is filled with examples and charts to help you along.
  10. Land as Treasure: In this chapter we explore using land as treasure, where noble titles mark the characters and NPCs with title, rank, stipends, men at arms, offerings and so much more. Broken down by class it allows for the master of the druid’s grove and the king or queen of vast realms. Rank/title is assigned by level if that is the direction desired.
  11. Going to War: Here we explore mass combat and introduce a system fully explored in Fields of Battle that allows your table to conduct massive battles with minis, chits or home made pieces. From morale to siege engines it covers the vast array of encounters that afflict armies in the field. It touches on sea battles as well.
  12. Monsters: Here the most common monsters are discussed, their ecological niches, geological niches, and geographic regionalization. From arrow hawks to ogre magi the host of monsters supplies the game master with a mountain of material to enhance game play and offer a lead into other monster development. Basic encounter tables serve to get you started.
  13. The Future: An introduction to the Siege Engine as it applies in a host of different game genres: space age, horror fiction, pulp noir, post apocalyptical and more. It includes guidelines on how to introduce your standard classes into these genres with little effort. Also find guns, canon and laser weapons, all the tools needed to launch a game in a new genre.
  14. Advancing the Game: A complete break down for starting and continuing RPG sessions. This chapter is dedicate to novice and experienced game masters. Addressing such issues as game balance, leveling, mood, tone, as well as awarding experience and managing expectations.
  15. The Siege Engine: Here we break apart the Siege Engine. The extremely simple game mechanic is driven by a variety of processes and game design theory. Learn how to expand, change or mold the Engine to your game and table. It further explores attributes and their never end value at the table.
  16. Treasure: A new look at an old subject. Exploring treasure as a backdrop and role playing tool from quests to unusual coins. Here we discuss extraordinary items, precious metals, gems and more. It includes such subjects as class restrictions and hiring magical services. Scrolls, silver items, destroying and purchasing magic items, treasure is explored for top to bottom.
  17. Combat: Here we explore the nature of combat at the table, how to run combat and how to pace it. It also expands the idea of inter personal combat with critical hit tables, critical fumble tables and host of combat maneuvers as well as attribute checks, line of sight, ranged, damage reduction and a host of other optional elements.
  18. Skill Packages: In skill packages we demonstrate the versatility of the game by paving the way for the CK to allow players extraordinary skills that go beyond the class and race skills outlined in the Players Handbook. From orc hunters to elves with enhanced empathy. Furthermore it opens a world of secondary class skills such as armorer, hunter etc.
  19. Character Death: Lastly we explore the deaths of characters, both the loved and unloved. We look at the impact of their death and explore ways in which they day from combat to disease. It includes a system for Luck Points, Hero Points and more.

The Castle Keepers Guide is a tool box with almost limitless optional rules, ideas, concepts and theories. A tool box you will want at your table, no matter what game you play.

Additional information

Weight 3.09 lbs
Dimensions 11.25 × 8.75 × 0.75 in



4th Printing

Page Count



Full Color



Product History

The long heroic story of the third core book to Castles & Crusades begins long before it was actually released (2015). In its earliest concept the book was envisioned as an aid for the Castle Keeper. It was not intended to house core rules, only suggested rules, expansions, world building and other similar tools for the CK. Better styled as a tool kit (which was one of its earliest names), the Castle Keepers Guide turned into a very large project, albeit one well worth the time and energy put into it. It should be noted that upon its announcement, Shane Bradley of Wisconsin showed his resounding support for C&C and the book by placing a pre-order. He waited many years for it to be fulfilled, but in the end, he was rewarded with a massive tome of information, reference material, optional rules, and procedures for building and maintaining any world his mind could envision. The original concept for the book was announced in 2005 and throughout 2006. Ideas were thrown around for a third book to join the Players Handbook and Monsters & Treasure, one for the CK and one to round out the expected trilogy. No work on the project had been undertaken however, as TLG had its hands full with the two other books and a host of Gygax material. The CKG kept getting shunted, but in 2007 a team was assembled to tackle the job. Headed up by Steve Chenault, it included Davis Chenault, James M. Ward and Casey Christofferson with contributions by Jason Vey, Mark Sandy, Mike Stewart and Robert Doyel. An email went out to the designers as follows: Hello All  Ok, today is the 4th of august {2007} and my work on the CKG begins in earnest. Hopefully everyone is on board. We have a tight deadline for this puppy. We want it done by Jan 15-20 so it can go to press the last week in Jan and come out March 1st - 10th. For obvious reasons. I do believe the deadline can be met. Its [sic] why we went with the team we have. Let me give you a little overall on the CKG
  1. It’s a list of optional rules. NOT one set of rules for each circumstance, rather several sets. For example, there are to be 3+ critical hit rules. I am hoping each rule set can be replicated this way – but need not be
  2. The entirety of the book is to be didactic. In part, the rules should be presented in a transparent and simple fashion to enable others to see the process of their creation and understanding their application and thereby better create and amend the rules presented to them. Essentially to unlock their own rule design potential.
  3. There will be CnC standard optional rules – meaning they are the standard fallback accepted CnC rule for x. These should be the simplest rules and ones that rely on the SIEGE mechanic at their core.
  4. Thematically, I would like the rules to have a feel for low fantasy, game fantasy and high fantasy (one of the 3 rules sets representing one. The standard CnC being the game fantasy).
  5. I have the outline up and running and will be handing out more and more assgs [sic] every day now.
  6. I will be asking for weekly updates just to see where we are.
  7. final rules will go through a ‘peer’ review. The rule will go out, every [sic] will comment (or not) thoughts added, rule amended (or not) and
  8. An independent and unkown [sic] CnC council (like the STAR Council) will do a final rule review and bounce it back or accept it – then put in stone
Enough crapola...Steve Work commenced. It did not go well and TLG did not meet any of the deadlines. Both the Players Handbook and Monsters & Treasure had expanded, demanding new printings. This dramatically disrupted the home offices, and a variety of issues afflicted the writers at any given point. As writing missed deadline after deadline, the book was relegated to the back burner. The fact that it was not an essential component of the overall structure of the game greatly reduced any sense of urgency. And the main driving force became Shane Bradley and those few who kept calling for it. The housing crash affected everyone and slowed production on this project as TLG shifted to smaller, easier to manage projects that could be printed in-house. It was, ironically, the loss of the Gygax licensed property that finally put pressure on TLG to recommence work on the CKG. Work was renewed in earnest in mid-2009, and by end of that year files were arriving. More hands were brought on deck to ease the burden some, so that by 2010 the work was largely complete, with only a few chapters by Stephen Chenault needing to be knocked out. Once these were done the CKG went to lay out and Peter Bradley framed the book in the green frames and placed a beautiful sphynx looking down on a questing party on the cover. Beyond the sphynx, beyond the cover, lay a vast treasure. That proved to be the case too, for the CKG was (and remains) an amazing amalgam of world building and game mechanics, filled to bursting with material for gamers of any system. Sporting interior art by Bradley and Walton, it proved a small masterpiece. Completing the book was not the end of the delays, however. Increased costs of printing drove TLG to expand their print shop into hardcover books. A long, six-month experiment ended in a few hundred CKGs being printed in-house with beautiful inline binding and matte covers. They were incredibly difficult to manufacture, and eventually broke the print shop.  Our shiny new equipment, from glue rollers to hand binders vanished into the vaults of Troll Lord Games, and the CKG instead went to press at our traditional contracted printer. With the larger scale and increased pace of the external printers, the Castle Keepers Guide 1st printing was at last ready for general release, and was made public late in 2011. It sported the green borders around the cover that the 4th printing of the PHB and the 3rd printing of the M&T sported. The 300 or so that made it out from TLG’s own press may have a copyright date of 2010 on them. We sadly have none left in our warehouse to verify, and thus cannot say! It is important to note that Shane Bradley’s was the first to ship. The CKG sold slowly at first, but by early 2014 it had sold out. The CKG became part of a crowdfunding campaign that included the PHB and MT that launched in 2014. By this point the line had undergone a change, dropped the green borders and expanded to full sized covers, and the core books were both in color. When it came time to reprint the CKG, it too enjoyed an overhaul, going full color, with a striking image of a knight lifting his dead comrade amidst a pile of treasure and the ruin of a dragon. The stark red on the cover made the whole image pop. Little changed inside but new art and minor edits. The Castle Keepers Guide 2nd printing debuted in 2015. It too enjoyed a deeper print run. By 2020 it was time to reprint the book again, this time it received a full overhaul with new art, a new exciting background to match the updated version of the other two core books and a brand-new cover. Peter Bradley created a third companion piece to the PHB’s 6th printing, creating a dynamic depiction of a mage holding a book overhead. The Castle Keepers Guide 3rd printing released in 2021. This printing was also crowdfunded. When the new homage covers landed for the other two core books, the M&T and PHB, enough people called for a similar cover to the original 1979 Dungeon Masters Guide. We couldn’t resist and the Castle Keepers Guide 4th printing, released in 2022, sported the new cover layout and design that you see on the book today. Unusual in the dens, as of this writing, there are still some of the 3rd printing books, selling alongside the 4th.


Authors: Davis Chenault, Stephen Chenault, James M. Ward, Casey Christofferson, Mark Sandy, Jason Vey, Robert Doyel, Charles Cumbow, Wilson Chenault Cover Art: Jason Walton Interior Art: Peter Bradley, Jason Walton, Zoe DeVos, Alyssa Faden, Sarah "Dreamie" Walker, and Vladimiro Rikowski Editors: Tim Burns, Christina Stiles, Derrick Landwehr, Steve Ege, Mark Sandy, Mac Golden, Wayne Tripp